June 22, 2024

(Bloomberg) — Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will undergo a long-delayed hip operation Friday but plans to quickly return to work, he announced Monday.

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Lula, 77, was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his hip ahead of last year’s presidential election but put off surgery until after the contest. He has experienced worsening pain this year, and will have the procedure during a break in a busy international travel schedule.

“I want to play soccer again, I want to run again,” he told reporters in Brasilia after meeting Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. “I’ve been in pain since August of last year. It hurts to sleep, it hurts to wake up, it hurts to get up, it hurts to sit, it hurts to stand.”

Lula said he will try to return to work next Monday if the surgery goes well. His only fear is taking anesthesia, he said.

The president wore a mask during the event with Chinh at Brazil’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, and said he will continue to do so to avoid infection before he is hospitalized for the procedure.

Lula initially announced his need for surgery in July, saying he would schedule it to avoid missing a series of major global events. The leftist leader this month traveled to the Group of 20 summit in India and the United Nations General Assembly in New York. He is scheduled to attend the UN’s COP28 climate meetings in Dubai and travel to Germany in December.

–With assistance from Beatriz Reis.

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